Sunday, February 20, 2011

Necron War starts in earnest

Fastblade's plea for help on Skera was heeded and thanks to extensive investment in waystations and the base at Cernunnos, help came relatively quickly. Tau Covert Orbital Observation Teams and allied agents of Federacy Military Intelligence had been monitoring the emerging Necron threat in the Perseus Deeps with growing alarm. The discovery of major tomb worlds close to Tau and Federacy controlled space was of great concern to the two allies. When stealth drones began transmitting data showing significant activity and energy emissions from the surface of Malius, Scallius and Cathasaea it could only mean that an attack was imminent.

The Federacy had enjoyed a considerable period of peace and its military forces were not ready to come to the aid of the Tau on such short notice. The nearest available re-enforcements were stationed on Tarsis. Fortunately the war there remained quiet and the Imperials even showed signs of preparing a withdrawal.

Shadowstrike immediately mobilised some of his elite Emergent Threat Cadres under Shas'el Starfire to re-enforce the Tau colonies nearest the tomb worlds. More cadres would be forthcoming but they would require time to mobilise. By 1802.011M42 hunter cadres of commander Moonshine and commander Starfire had arrived at the Tau nase. The assistance came none too soon aswell, as no sooner had the reinforcements landed the Necron assault came in full force.

The Necrons attacked on a narrow front, refusing one flank in an attempt to use a massed force of destroyers to break the tau centre. Moonshine's forces soon found themselves facing little resistance on their flank and moved quickly to regain contact with the enemy. Meanwhile in the centre and particularly on the Tau left flank where Shadowstrike's forces were concentrated, the Necrons quickly threatened to break through. Half flesh half machine monsters tore through the tau ranks and only Shadowstrike's armoured forces managed to escape the onslaught. Fastblades force just barely managed to hold the centre and as the first day of the Necron assault ended the tide had turned, Moonshine's crisis suits and kroot warriors turning up on the right flank just in time, turning the Necron line and forcing them into retreat, the Tau hammerheads and Devilfish making the difference against the implaccable metallic aliens.

The Necrons now appeared to realise that the Tau had become too strong for their initial landing force and abandonned the planet. Shadowstrike however feared their return, as did his colleagues Moonshine and Fastblade, so the Tau commanders began to draw up plans for the fortification of Skera and Paratea.

The Necron threat had been repulsed for the time being, but the Tau urgently needed to fortify their outposts on the edge of the Perseus Deeps. Some re-enforcements had been transferred from Tarsis but many more were needed, along with munitions and equipment. The supply bases lying between the Tau Empire and the Deeps were of critical importance, so when sensor towers detected crude ships landing (although crashing would seem a more apt term) on Hylas the Tau garrison forces were quick to react.

Infiltrators quickly located a small Ork force heading towards the main supply dump and a task force headed to intercept them. The clumsy greenskins didn't realise their presence was known until energy pulses, guided missiles and plasma rounds began bursting amidst them. With a terrific sonic boom a railgun round split the air and the heavily camouflaged form of a Hammerhead gunship slipped into view. Although a backworld the forces on Calabris had been using their quiet posting to drill remorselessly and included many veterans rotated out for recovery. Their fire was unfailingly precise yet few orks fell to the ambush. Much of the incoming fire simply bounced off the dome of a massive force field in the middle of the Ork horde amidst a shower of light and explosions.

The Orks let out a loud cry of “Waaaaagh!” and charged forward. The Tau kept up their assault but the force dome seemed impenetrable. Fearlessly the Kroot auxiliary concealed ahead of the Ork attack sprang from their positions and leapt within the force dome, slaughtering the greenskins heading the charge only to be overwhelmed by a second wave. Still the Orks came on and the Shas'el commanding the garrison saw that his fire warriors would be overwhelmed if he did not act. He sacrificed himself for the greater good, cleansing dozens of the orks with fire and airbursts.

Still the Orks advanced but their luck had run out. The force field finally overloaded and a missile found its way through to the dreadnought leading the attack. The Bigmech's personal bodyguard dropped one by one around him as he sought something to vent his rage on. He finally fell to a pulse rifle round to the face only a yard in front of a relieved fire warrior. With the supply base unharmed the Tau began shoring up their outposts in the Deeps.

Meanwhile the Necrons again attempted to probe the Imperial defences on Aganthus, knowing that their main strength was still focussed on General Veers' crusade. The Necrons found however that the Space Wolves of Erik Morcai's great company had arrived in force. They at least had recognised the Necron threat as real and had anticipated the return of the aliens. The Necrons soon found that the Space Wolves were ready and waiting for them, and barely two hours after they had made contact with the xenos they had once again mysteriously disappeared.

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